Marie Francoise Thérèse Martin was born in Alençon in Normandy, France on January 2nd 1873. Her father, Louis, was a watchmaker and her mother, Zelie, was a lacemaker. Thérèse had four older sisters - Marie, Pauline, Leonie and Celine. This was a happy family full of love and fun who prayed together every day.
When Thérèse was 4 years old her mother, Zelie, died. Thérèse and her family were heartbroken. Their father moved to Lisieux near to their cousins and began to build a new life for his family. In the mornings, Thérèse had lessons with her sister, Marie, and in the afternoons she went for long walks in the country with her father. On one of these walks they visited the chapel of the Carmelite nuns, the order which Thérèse’s sisters Pauline, Marie and Celine would enter and later Thérèse herself.
One Sunday evening, Thérèse and her father were returning home from a visit to her cousin’s house. Thérèse noticed that some of the stars in the sky formed the letter T. She said her name was written in heaven *(This is why we have seven stars on the T in our School Crest.)
When she was only fourteen, Thérèse asked her father’s permission to enter the Carmelite Convent at Lisieux. As her father said, ‘yes’, he picked a little white flower and gave it to Thérèse. He said the little flower was like Thérèse, picked by God to grow in a new place at Carmel. At fifteen, Thérèse was the youngest person in the convent. She spent much of her day in prayer but she also helped with the housework and gardening.
Many times during her life Thérèse had been very ill with tuberculosis. Her constant prayer and her love and trust in God had helped her - many times - to get better. In the spring of 1897, the disease became much worse and Thérèse was very ill and weak. In April she was relieved of all her duties in the convent. Her sisters spent a lot of time with her. Finally, on 30th September 1897, Thérèse died.
Thérèse found a little way to heaven which we can all follow. She realised that we can do everything as a little act of love for God. Little things like…smiling, helping out at home, being kind and helpful to others.
St. Thérèse, pray for us. Help us to be what Jesus wants us to be and do what he wants us to do. Lord Jesus, we love you. Amen.